Mr David Tay Tiang Chong

I’ve been waiting so long for this moment that now that I can, the excitement I expected to have had subsided. Nonetheless, this is happening.

I just passed my driving test. Like I am legit sitting at bbdc waiting to get my license as I type this. Its been a long time coming.

I failed this test about 4 years ago before university. I took private lessons with a Mr David Tay Tiang Chong. He charged $40/hr =$60/1.5hr lesson.

On many counts he was an excellent teacher. He was patient and drew out driving instructions on paper for me to keep. He doesn’t fall asleep during class which I’ve heard about from other friends. On the whole, he was a decent instructor.

However, he did many questionable things that I was very naive to have accepted.

1) He took at least a 10 minute break every lesson without fail. Given his high charges, this was pretty annoying. He doesn’t take a moment’s break between students so he buys food and uses the washroom during classes instead. Once, I showed unhappiness that he wanted to stop to buy something and he felt insulted, explaining many times after that that he was a good teacher and not interested in scamming my money. He also fancies himself an A class karaoke master and often showed me his videos and singing techniques in class good lord.

2) He charged me $18 to enter a multi-storey car park to practice parking on the top floor. He said that his friends were in charge of the car park and private driving students like myself could use the top floor to practice car park. I only learned much later that this is complete hogwash. Private students aren’t even legally allowed to practice in car parks.

3) He taught me parallel parking a day before the exam. I was very unprepared for the test and failed. He made me practice far less useful skills like 3-point turn and narrow U-turn countless times (both of which aren’t even tested nb) while leaving all the important skills to the end. What I am implying, of course, is that he withholds teaching you properly so that he can profit from you failing your test.

4) He never returned my deposit. But more on that later.

After I failed I continued taking more lessons from him. However, I was starting to feel amiss and that things didn’t add up. I consulted another private instructor I happened to chance upon on the way home, asking him about the way in which my instructor conducted his classes. He told me that the charges were exorbitant and unreasonable. He referred me to his friend who was a private auto instructor whom I called once to inquire more. A day after that, Mr David Tay ceased contact with me, refusing to pick up my calls and texts, never returning my deposit as well. I felt humiliated and angered that I did not even get the last word. He must have ears and eyes around to have found out what I had found out within the span of a day.

I could not be more pleased to have taken classes at BBDC with G8037 group of instructors. I passed with 18 classes (inc. 4 review ones) under 2 months for $1.4k. There are certainly good private instructors out there. However, I was just real unlucky to have encountered Mr David Tay. I took 31 classes with this mofo, spent approx $2.6k (KNN) in total. May this serve as a cautionary tale for anyone intending to take his classes. Don’t.


For more info on this mofo, here and here. The only good reviews are the ones he had the gall to write himself.


On the Elected Presidency

I have been trying to wrap my head around the whole race thing of the elected presidency. I’ve watched and read most of the information out there and I still feel unconvinced.

So the race bit of the new EP system is as follows; if for 5 terms we have not had Race X type president, only Race X candidates will be eligible for the 6th term. Obviously, Race X is understood to be a racial minority given the unlikelihood of not having a single Chinese president for 5 terms.

The main argument for this is that:

  1. To begin with, it is symbolically important that we have minority representatives from time to time so that racial minorities can feel as though they may aspire to the highest office in the state.
  2.  However, race is still a factor in deciding our connectedness to a person. IPS surveys show this; whether this person is my president or my son-in-law. If we expect electoral battles to be as close as the last presidential election, race becomes a decisive factor among two otherwise equal competitors.
  3. Some may feel that imposing a Race X president in any given term is effectively affirmative action. However, Race X candidates must meet the same eligibility criteria. Hence, meritocracy is not undermined as all eligible candidates will be qualified for the job.

My counter-response would be that:

  1. It devalues the highest office in the state.  Of course its important that we have minority presidents now and then. If I consider myself as a political minority being a woman, I would absolutely beam at the opportunity to have a female president, but not at the expense of compromising the democratic standards of the electoral process. Do you think its going to mean a lot to me that I have a female president, if that position was not fairly won?
  2. There are better ways to get a minority president. They’re harder, but they’re worth the long term effort if we want to be the progressive society we claim to be. Yes race is a factor and is most likely to disadvantage racial minorities in an election. That is bad, but that is life. If the problem is that Singaporeans are racist or that not enough minorities are eminent enough to be eligible, imposing a president from a racial minority is a short sighted and patronising solution. Honestly, if I don’t see a candidate from the minority pool in the next two terms, I expect Singapore to look in the reflecting pool and work on long term ways to combat racism and raise the status of racial minorities in Singapore.
  3. It may not undermine meritocracy but it undermines democracy. Yes Race X candidate may have the same qualifying standards as other candidates set by the Electoral Commission, but that says nothing about the qualifying standards of average citizens. The average joe is going to vote based on how much they like you and whether they feel connected to you, which are very different standards from having run a company with $500million shareholder equity, but are probably more important. 99% of your time as president will be spent on smiling, shaking hands and making women (or men) swoon and 1% deciding whether the government can take money out of the reserves. We may not be undermining meritocracy but we’re certainly undermining democracy; giving the people a president they have freely chosen and love. A Race X president entering via the 6th term system will always be doubted on whether he/she could have been popularly elected in a fair and competitive election. This token of a president can never presume to possess the same degree of legitimacy as other presidents before him/her.

I think the implications may go further:

Because Race X is in all likelihood a racial minority, a Race X  entering in the 6th term may be seen as less legitimate not by virtue of the system, but their race. This system unfairly robs the minority president from full legitimacy as an elected president.

Also, the majority Chinese may start to feel that 5 terms is an acceptable length of time for all Chinese presidents since the 6th term is reserved for a president who is a racial minority. Imagine the 5th election where the previous 4 were won by Chinese candidates, what incentive would the majority, already comfortably privileged, have, to choose a minority president, if they know the next one will be won by one already? They’ll probably think, “Better vote Chinese, next round no more liao.” Eventually, the pattern of 5 Chinese terms and 1 minority term may become normalised, when it really really should not.



So, no go on the race bit of the new EP system. The financial argument seems rather sound, though its hard for me to say that given that it makes the guy I liked now ineligible to run. But I’m trying to be unbiased so I have to concede on this point.

Then again, the fact that TKL is now a more eligible candidate than TCB is just beyond me. This brings me back to counter-argument number 3. The financial experience is important but it means less to the average joe than his character. TKL is so thoroughly silly, he will inspire no love or loyalty from Singaporeans. The criteria that we have set for the EP just so that he/she may make a better call together with the CPA, on a one-time decision regarding the reserves, wildly narrows down our pool of candidates. That is the reality we have to contend with when we accept the EP qualifying criteria, we lose some TCBs and are left with TKLs.

Similarly, the new system that guarantees at least one minority president in your lifetime causes all the aforementioned problems, and that is the reality of a token system; one where the prized position loses value and legitimacy as a whole.

I know the government is going to accept the commissions’ recommandations, table the legislation and amend the constitution anyway. But I just wanted to write this so that I won’t forget like I always do once I’m used to something.

From the same stock

Since being back from Paris, I’ve been interning in hospital administration. I’ve worked, volunteered and interned at many places before over the last few years. But I’ve begun to notice that the higher up I go, the closer I get to management, the more people I meet that have this..this contrived friendliness about them.

You can find them anywhere of course, not just in management. Last year there was this unrelenting insurance dude who tried to bond with me over the fact that he graduated from NTU. So I had to very politely question his current career choice as a useless waste of my time. A year before that, another guy stopped to talk to me about some exciting business opportunity. He refused to tell me concretely how money was to be made and tried to draw me in with the mystery of MLM. And then are those introverts who read self-motivational books, participate in student leadership camps and manage to be a partially realistic but still awkward caricature of an extrovert.

And its not just strangers I encounter. It sad when I see my friends who I used to cherish and love, turn into these people. They start to lust after networking opportunities and motivational seminars which teach them how to make people like you and earn lots of money. They get horny dispensing ‘life hacks’ and ‘tips’ to other people and jerk off to a poster of Adam Khoo on their bedroom wall.

I think I might be digressing from my original point.

When I was working at the ‘lower rungs’ like as a waitress or dental nurse, some of my colleagues may be more complex than others and put on a front for a myriad of reasons, and it is expressed in their personalities in different ways. As I begun to work at the ‘higher rungs’ over time, my colleagues are more educated and what not, but those who put on a front are moulded from the same clay. They try to ‘break you down’ and understand what make you tick. Its astounding how weird they get observing you and letting you know that they noticed that you have sinus in the morning, you were humming to this song earlier, you like to drink hot milo for lunch etc.  You never know precisely what their intentions are, where their loyalties lie and why they look like damn getty images. Moreover though, there is this nagging feeling you get when they try to engage you, that they see you as nothing more than an individual they can use to get ahead. They inundate with all this friendly pseudo-concern so you won’t realise they just wanna use you.

And I’m really uncomfortable with people like that. It reminds me of friends I’ve let go because they became ultra christian and suddenly all they see is someone they have to bring to church. ‘Pre-believers’, as they say. The entire friendship becomes based on a specific conditionality, and if it doesn’t make the cut, then the utility of the relationship is zero.

But in a work environment, you can’t choose the minimal degree of interaction you have to have with your colleagues. These friendly, energetic go-getters are simply the bane of my anti-social existence.



I have missed an entire year of blogging. Within the last two years it seems that I’ve dropped so many of my long term habits that I used to feel were part of my identity.

I’ve completely stopped downloading music. Not because I give a shit about downloading being a crime, torrenting is one of the best things thats happened to me. But, Spotify. I used to obsess over a song I’d catch on MTV, download it, memorise the lyrics, digest it so slowly that it’d take weeks to clear my system so I can obsess over the next song. If I really really liked it, I’ll look up the guitar chords and record myself singing and playing the song lol. However, since I created a Spotify account its become redundant to download songs. I no longer feel as emotionally charged over a new song the way I used to either.

I havent felt compelled to blog in the last year as well. My desire to express myself has found smaller outlets in the ways I like and comment on things on fb and instagram. It kinda requires less emotions and commitment. I was always antisocial kinda in a bad way but now I can stare at my phone with zero regard to the people around me and its considered completely normal behaviour.

I dont believe these trends are due to the fact that my free time has reduced a little. In fact, I think the cumulated time I used to take for these ‘childhood’ habits would be far less than the constant ‘plug-in’-ed time I spend on these various new fangled platforms. They’re certainly less enjoyable, but they require a short amount of time per interval. I fb in the toilet now, like all the time, even if its for 30 seconds. I used to read newspapers and comics in the toilet! Now I watch cat videos oh god. Like newspapers and comics, blogging too requires a substantial amount of completely alone time. Its hard to come by, cos I havent been making time for it. And yet I waste the alone time that I do have on social media. And I’m not even social online! I’m as antisocial as I’ve always been, but now with technology I can people watch without watching people.

I’ve also become less sincere about cards and gifts. I used to take great care and prepare them in advance. Now I’m so terribly last minute about it I can feel the insincerity when I pass the gift and know I could have done better for this person I supposedly care so much about.

When it comes to studying, I’ve certainly become more efficient at getting my grades. I do what I need to do to screen through a ton of readings and understand enough to answer questions for class participation and pray that its enough to tide me over for exams. With every passing semester, I seem to spend less and less time on my readings its very bad. It as if I worry so much about not getting to do everything, I end up doing everything half heartedly. I wait for sweet relief at the end of exams then when it arrives I feel nothing cos I hadn’t worked hard enough for it to mean anything.

I used to do theatre in school. Theatre’s the kind of work that requires your entire mind body and soul. Now I veer towards work thats composed of small tasks and projects. Again, they’re far less enjoyable. But they take up less time per interval. Why though. Why am I trying so hard to avoid being devoted.

So maybe its the glasses of red wine at 1am talking. Or the disturbing movie Law abiding citizen I just watched.  Or that I just changed my school account’s password to name of the wine bottle we used tonight. Or the attacks in Brussels yesterday morning and the extra security at my doorstep. Or that a great friend of mine just got engaged. Or the fact that I’m feeling a tad homesick here in Paris. I’ve been here for 2 months now and every time I tell myself this is the best time to do this, this is the best time to do that, once this is over, I’m gonna finish school and be a working adult and the rest will be history. I’m gonna work in healthcare. I’m gonna settle down and have a house and birth some offspring. All this pressure to make the most out of this precious time adds a slight tinge of unhealthy expectations to my experiences here. Exchange in Paris has been all fun and stuff. But I certainly miss my privacy, my passion and my full ass.


2014 was whack.

2014 has been crazy, has it not?

It’s ridiculous how many bad things happened. take a look at the amount of terrible things that happened this year. There were the successive flight catastrophes, the countless deaths in Crimea, Syria, Gaza and Iran. There were the ISIS beheadings. There was Ebola.

In Singapore, it was hard to say that it was not a good year in substantive terms. However, I believe most informed Singaporeans would sense that this year was an especially tense year. Not because Goh Chok Tong had prostate surgery and couldn’t fart for days. But because there was a constant flow of undercurrents surreptitiously sowing discord in our country.

People were still harping on the Little India Riot at the beginning of the year. That brought up issues of the treatment of foreign workers. Now they have a centre for recreation. Alright fair enough. It also overlapped with Anton Casey. And some silly people began to blanketly label all foreigners as uncivilised trolls.

There was HPB’s online information on homosexuality, along with Paster Lawrence Khong’s leaked plan for quashing the ‘gay agenda’. Then there was Pinkdot, followed by the Wear White campaign. There was the removal of children books about alternative families, which then led to a withdrawal of support from the Singapore Writer’s Festival. There was plenty of heat on AWARE as well for their curious brand of communication. And who can forget the Hong Lim park saga. Oh yes and the Sim Lim Square fiasco. Its almost like everyone’s geared up for a fight. In one sense, I am rather heartened at the passion driving these actions. Its very human and it reminds me that we’re vivacious millenials. haha that sounded a little fancy. Yet, in another, I am really worried that no one realizes there isn’t an end game.  Every social dispute becomes paralyzed in a state of uncompromising moralism. ‘I can’t be right unless you are wrong,’

However, there were plenty of other interesting trends as well.

There was the banning of To Singapore, With Love. Instead of kbkb-ing, a few hundred Singaporeans snuck over the causeway to watch it. And conducted a little post-screening forum with the filmmaker herself, Tan Pin Pin. So peaceable and mature. I approve.

Another source of social advocacy had been with regards to the ongoing slaughter between Palestine and Israel. It may seem like a distant issue for the most in Singapore. But the Muslim community has not been silent on this international issue. Around July-September, many of my muslim friends were sharing the atrocities of the Israeli militia on the Palestinians on social media. Most were fairly harmless and uncontroversial. The horrors of war; what’s new? But there was a broader issue here. It was clear to me that the Muslim community in Singapore had become more vocal and educated about the socio-political issues surrounding their faith. The young and tech saavy were espacially inclined to use social media to express their beliefs of course. And that raised the saliency of Gaza to other religous groups, who stepped up to help.

isn’t that nice? a new pair of flyovers being constructed?

Civil society was evidently more vocal this year on many fronts; homosexuality, foreigners, religion, alternative families, censorship and feminism. It caused plenty of excitement and tension. For me, I was pretty much an observer. I attended Pinkdot though and bought one book abut feminism. I also read through Lawrence Khong’s little manifesto. I wrote an essay on the relationship between civil society and democratic development in Singapore. 2014 was a really educational year for me. Which is just in time cos I’m turning 21! And so I’m gonna commemorate by leaving Singapore for a month 🙂 gonna be in London, bitches.

Be Careful with Carousell

I have been a carousell fanatic since I joined last month. Like seriously, nuts. I always thought that fleas were the best way to get great deals. I frequently pride myself on how cheap my clothes are, my other life attainments like getting a diploma and entering a local uni pale in comparison. But, alas, I have a new way of supporting my insatiable love for cheap clothes. fleas are great and all, but its actually quite physically draining. its a lot of squatting and sifting through clothes, and sweating. so many sweaty girls. what a horrific sight for me.

but Carousell allows me to get cheap clothes on the go. I’ve never really entertained the idea of online shopping. if they’re retail, like zalora or love bonito or whatever, its probably above $10. which is $5 more than I am used to. :/ if they’re second hand, like gumtree/ ebay, its just way too much of a hassle. formatting’s so hideous. words everywhere. its a damn mess. The trouble involved in setting up an account and carrying out the transaction is gonna waste more time than the money I’d save. But carousell has totally revamped online shopping for me. I have bought like I think $50 worth of stuff in a month, all amazing quality and from super friendly people :))) And I got rid of the stuff I have lost interest in as a well.

So I have new pretty clothes, got rid of my unwanted stuff. And I still profit what sorcery is this.

The moral of the story here is that Carousell rocks. However, the unregulated ease of transactions also mean that people have a lot of discretion to do harm.

A friend of mine recently transferred a deposit of $720 on two iphones to this carouseller, following which he became uncontactable. He deleted his listing so the conversations are gone as well. She then created a new account and chatted with his newly created persona, whom she found to indeed be him when he provided the same mobile and bank account number. Police investigations are still ongoing.

Some ways to prevent yourself from getting scammed on carousell:

1) Always choose cash on delivery. Deposits to show sincerity/ commitment requires a little too much trust in a complete stranger. Its not like a tenancy agreement that has proper contracts drawn up. You’re transferring money to a person you know very very little about. Especially if its a large purchase, like over $30, COD is the way to go. Plus, you get to conduct your own QC.

2) Research your seller. Look at his feedback. How long he’s been on carousell. How many listings he has. If he created that one listing, has no feedback, no followers and registered his account 2 days ago, then he’s a long way from proving himself a trustworthy seller. Even if your seller has positive feedback, the users who provided them have to be researched too. He could have easily created another account to give himself positive feedback.

3) Obtain as many details as possible before committing to an offer. That means his name, number, colour of his cat. Make sure that if he does scam you, it would be, in the very least, a major inconvenience for him. Give him a call to verify if the number is legit. My friend’s scammer even provided ‘his sister’s’ number and two different bank accounts to choose from. This scammer was quite detailed in his scam. Then again, bank accounts and phone numbers are easily traceable by the police. Once those personal details are provided, they are opening themselves up to being tracked.

4) Avoid rushing into a deal. Scammers like to push forward a deal by acting impatient or informing you there are other buyers. Do not be rushed into a deal you are not 100% comfortable with. Most carousellers are leisurely people playing with their phones tryna make a little money and have some fun talking with people who show an interest in their stuff. If your seller sounds like he is weirdly eager to close a deal with you, it is possible that he is more concerned with profit than your interests. If you choose to deal with him anyway in spite of his peculiar impatience, refer to the above three points to prevent yourself from getting scammed.

Carousell is a great place with very little regulation. Buyers and sellers deal with one another with no interference from Carousell’s administrators and that makes it an awesome medium for sincere buyers and sellers to get what they want. However, the dearth of regulation also guarantees frequent exploitation of ignorant carousellers who don’t know how to protect their interests.

btw, I know my language suggests that only guys can be scammers. pardon my insensitivity to sexist remarks like that. in Dr Cox’s words; “In this day and age, it’s damn hard to know what’s kosher.”

update: there’s been no updates by the police. they claim that is related to a broader overseas scam and needs more work. ?? I though it was a straight forward case but I guess not.

Fainting Appreciation

I used to scare my parents by having fits and fevers when I was pretty young. I was fairly inconsiderate. But since the age of five, I’ve had a rather clean bill of health. Aside from HFMD, occasional faints and undiagnosed sinus, I’m quite decent. Nothing that has required hospialization.

But the occasional faints have been rather interesting.

The first time was when I was 15. It was my first time travelling by bus into JB. I vomitted and felt faint at customs. But on the up side, they let us clear first, ahead of the hundreds. 🙂 5 mins recovery once I got out of the horrible crowd.

The second time was when I was 16. I was walking back from cathay to plaza sing. suddenly felt faint. slumped at subway. then slept in a toilet cubicle (how reminiscent of clubbing nights) for a half hour. then slept at billy bombers for two hours.

the third account was when I was 17. I donated blood at HSA for the first time. It was all good. Had a gay badge on my shirt that said be nice to me, I’m a first time donor. No pain at all. Blood came out like water. then when the needle was pulled out, I felt an immediate shock to my system. Blacked out shortly. I think outwardly it seemed like seconds, but I kinda felt like I was very gradually descending into darkness and ultimate relaxation. hehe. The nurses quickly made me lay flat and I recovered instantly. So after that I went for a stroll to chinatown. It was going fine till I felt naseous and puked twice onto a soil path at the side of the street. Afterwhich, I walked in a wobbly and zigzagged fashion cross a traffic light and slept at KFC till my dad came to save me.

The fourth and fifth account was when I was 20 last year. I felt fainty on my way to west coast plaza then I collapsed at quiznos. the store manager told me to leave. and that it was no place for me to sleep. knnbccb. Recovered later on in the car while my sis drove. months later I had a tremendous amount of fabulous steak at buona vista. On my way back to the station, my stomach started to cramp up and I fainted.

The sixth time was two days ago after my eyebrow embroidery touch up at clementi. I puked on the train back to jurong east. Felt very faint and sweaty and unable to respond to questions. Hands and lips were numb. Recovered at a nearby clinic after eating sweets.

So the very chatty doctor explains that it was hypoglycaemia. Ordinarily brought about by fatigue, malnutrition or hormones. The first two of which do not apply during the holidays.

Anyway, I’ve learnt some things from these horrid experiences of a hypoglycaemic shock.

Do not take in fluids, only sugars. lie down. curl up. aircon. boom. good as new.